Moving to Spain?

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Moving to Spain

With over 6,000 kilometers of beaches, Spain is one of Europe’s favorite vacation spots: no wonder that moving to Spain puts every expat in a good mood. InterNations provides you with basic information on Spain, including advice on visa requirements and public transportation.

At a Glance:

  • Spanish climate, big cities, and festivals attract expats from all over the world.

  • EU nationals and non-EU citizens have different requirements for moving to Spain, but the NIE (Identity Number) is an essential step for both.

  • Transportation is one of Spain’s strong points, thanks to its efficient and advanced public transport system.


Spain’s total population amounts to approximately 46,7 million. However, only about 10% of its residents made the move to Spain from abroad.

Spain’s Climate and Regions

With a total area of over 500,000 km², Spain’s climate differs greatly from region to region. In the Basque country, you can expect a maritime climate with cooler summers and mild winters, while, the central plateau offers the two extremes of hot summers and icy winters. Southern Andalusia has a Mediterranean climate and rainy seasons are typical of Spain’s Atlantic coast.

Madrid: The Spanish Capital

Madrid, the largest city of Spain and national capital, is a popular expats destination. As a matter of fact, it is the third largest urban agglomeration in Europe, with 3.2 million inhabitants and 16% of its population having an international background. It is also considered one of the world’s major global cities, thanks to its significant influence in politics, entertainment, culture, and art. As the capital city, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish royal family, Madrid is the political, economic and cultural center of the country and attracts tourists from all over the world.

Moreover, the city may pique many expats’ interest, because of the wide choice of international schools and the cost of living in Madrid, which is relatively low compared to other European capitals, such as Brussels, Amsterdam, or Berlin. For more detailed information, check out the guide on living in Madrid.

Barcelona and Andalusia

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and as a port city on the Mediterranean coast, simultaneously considered a global city and a strategic meeting point for international business. Barcelona has a population of 1,6 million inhabitants and attracts expats from all over the world, especially those interested in working in trading and manufacturing industries. However, Barcelona may cater more to younger expats, due to its popularity among European exchange students, its international flair, and largely touristic ambience. Check out our guide to living in Barcelona to find out more about life in the Catalonian capital.

If the weather is an important criterion for choosing your destination in Spain, Seville, a city located in the south of the country, might be of interest to you. As the capital of Andalusia and fourth-largest city in Spain, it is a culturally rich city with a high number of annual visitors. Many European retirees, choose to live along the Costa del Sol, enjoying the warm climate and the endless sandy beaches.

Art and Festivals in Spain Spanish cities offer a variety of leisure activities, such as yachting in Barcelona, enjoying an opera in Madrid, or learning flamenco dancing in Seville. In addition to that, moving to Spain is definitely a good choice for art lovers: artists such as Salvador Dalí, Gaudi, and Pablo Picasso were Spanish nationals and used their country as a source of inspiration.

Moreover, a good way to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture is visiting one of the countless festivals held in different cities over the year: Valencia’s famous Fallas festival in March is full of folkloric processions and fireworks, and the running of the bulls (encierros) in towns throughout Spain, especially Pamplona, attracts many daredevils every summer.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Jacques Paillard

"At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends. "

Katharina Berbner

"Thanks to InterNations, I found a good language school for expats to take intensive classes in Spanish and socialize a bit more. "

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